Try These Google Now Commands

Ok Google

Google Now, if you haven't worked with it before, is a handy feature of Android phones, desktop computers, and even iOS devices (with an app download).  

Sometimes Google Now provides you with cards to guess at things you may want to know before you ask for them. 

Google Now is even more fun when you use voice activated commands. On computers and some phones, you must tap or click on the microphone icon to launch voice searches and commands, but on many recent Android phones and Android Wear watches, you just have to say, "Ok Google." 

General Information Searches

Google Now
Google

 You can actually use real words, short phrases, and even grammatically correct sentences when searching for things. Some examples:

  1. Search for boxing gloves
  2. What is the stock price of Google?
  3. Author of the Hunger Games
  4. When was Einstein born?
  5. How do you say hello in Chinese?
  6. Who acted in X-Men Days of Future Past?
  7. What movies are playing near me?

Time Related Searches

 The alarm is super handy, but you can also try a variety of time and date based commands. 

  1. What time is it in London right now? 
  2. Set an alarm for tomorrow at five am. 
  3. What time zone is it in Portland, Oregon?
  4. What time is it at home? (this only works if you've set your home location in Google Maps) 
  5. What time is sunrise tomorrow?

Phone Commands

 If you're using Google Now on your phone, you can try a variety of phone-related commands. 

  1. Call Bob Smith ( use the name of a real contact in place of "Bob Smith") 
  2. Send SMS to Bob "I'm running late."  (again, you have to have all these contacts defined, but you can take easy dictation this way for quick messages) 
  3. Email Mom, "I'm sending you this email using my voice!" 
  4. "Smiley face" - if you say this while dictating an email or SMS message, it will translate it to the appropriate :-) emoji. 
  5. Text Mom, Dad, Grandma, Grandpa, etc. If you set up the name in your contacts as you create them, it's easy to use natural language to just call or text them 

Weather

Use weather-related commands first thing in the morning. It's easier than trying to focus your eyes before coffee. 

  1. Do I need an umbrella today?
  2. Do I need a coat today?
  3. What's the weather in London?
  4. What is the weather forecast in Tokyo on Monday?
  5. Weather 

Notes and Tasks

 Send yourself some easy reminders. 

  1. Note to self: write an article about penguins
  2. Remind me to take out the trash when I get home. 
  3. Wake me up in eight hours. 
  4. Remind me to go to piano recital at seven pm. 
  5. Create a calendar event for dentist appointment at two pm on Wednesday. 

Maps and Directions

  1. Navigate home (provided you've defined a "home" address or have maintained a schedule long enough for Google to guess)  
  2. Find a restaurant near me. 
  3. Directions to Pioneer Square
  4. Walking directions to bus stop
  5. How far is Boston from New York?
  6. Map of Seattle

Calculator Functions

Google has long had a hidden calculator, and you have full access to those commands.

  1. What is five times five?
  2. How many pesos in a Canadian dollar? 
  3. How many liters in a gallon? 
  4. What is the tip for 58 dollars? 
  5. 87 divided by 42 equals

Personal Help

Assuming you're using your Gmail account to keep track of things like your flight or your package delivery, you can use Google Now to find everything faster. 

  1. When does my flight leave?
  2. Where is my package?
  3. Has flight "XYZ" landed? 
  4. When does the next train arrive? (best when standing near train stop) 

Sports

Google Now has all sorts of sports-related information. When you use the phrase "the game" or "the score" it generally assumes you mean the most recent major college or professional game played in the same city. 

  1. What is the current score?  (The most finicky command, because it's also the most vague. Add a team name if you get no results.) 
  2. Did Mizzou win the game? 
  3. When does Dallas play next? 
  4. How are the Yankees doing?

Launching Apps and Music

 Again, these work best on the phone. 

  1. Play Regina Spektor Folding Chair (assuming you have the song in Google Play music). 
  2. Launch Pandora
  3. Go to About.com
  4. What is this song? 
  5. YouTube What Does the Fox Say

Easter Eggs

Just for fun, here are a few things to try. Many of them also work on the desktop version of Google Now, but most require the talkback feature of the phone to really be funny. 

  1. Make me a sandwich. 
  2. Sudo make me a sandwich. (Say them in that order. It's from a geeky meme about the Linux sudo command. )
  3. Do a barrel roll.
  4. Tea, earl grey, hot.
  5. What is your favorite color?
  6. What is the loneliest number? 
  7. When does the narwhal bacon? (A Reddit meme)
  8. What is the Bacon number of (any actor)? 
  9. What does the fox say?
  10. How much wood could a wood chuck chuck if a wood chuck could chuck wood?
  11. Beam me up, Scotty. 
  12. Tilt. 
  13. Up up down down left right left right. (this is an old Konami game cheat code)
  14. Who are you?

User Agents and Google Now Behind the Scenes

Google Now, like Siri for iPhones, is an example of a user agent. Most of what Google Now does is tries to understand your command in context and gather the information through other available resources on the Internet. Combine it with a few pre-programmed snarky responses, and you have both a great tool and an instant party trick (if it's not a loud party.)